Moving away from home is tricky, I know – I’ve been there, too!
Once the excitement of starting your university journey fades, you’re left feeling depressed and sometimes lonely, longing for your mum or dad’s home-cooked meal and snuggles with your favourite furry friend.
But being at university or college is a life-changing experience that will teach you so many skills that you’ll need later in life (like how to change your own bedsheets, for example).
So, if you’re willing to stick it out and find your comfort zone away from home, follow these useful tips and learn how to deal with homesickness at university.
1. Establish a Routine
The human brain is wired to rely on routines and habits, which is essentially something that we learn to do without thinking about it. When you establish a routine, your brain will assume that the actions you’re carrying out are normal.
So, if you have too much time on your hands, you could sign up to weekly classes, go food shopping on a specific day or form a cleaning rota to stick to. After a little while of completing the same tasks, you will overcome feeling homesick.
2. Arrange a Visit Home
If you’re really feeling homesick, a good coping method is to arrange a visit to go home so you have something to look forward to.
Just make sure that this visit isn’t a few days or weeks immediately after you’ve stepped foot on campus! You need to give yourself some time to adjust, form new friendships and find your feet before you fled back to your nest!
A good time to pay a visit is during your first study week – by this point, you should have settled into university life.
3. Add Some Home Comforts to Your New Surroundings
When packing for university, be sure to take some personal favourites from your room. This could be your favourite pillow, bed sheets, photographs of your family and any sentimental ornaments – even if it’s a stuffed animal! Don’t be scared to bring your favourite belongings with you – I’m pretty sure your roommates have similar possessions in hiding, too!
When I first went to university, I filled a wall with pictures of family and friends, adding snaps of my new memories as I made them. Having these pictures around me made me feel grateful for my loved ones and the new experiences!
4. Join a Social Club
Signing up to a social club can be a great way to overcome your homesick symptoms and make new connections. And university is the best place to try out new activities. With so many different clubs available, you can practise your hobby while obtaining your degree!
If you’re not sure where to begin, speak to one of the fresher’s angels during your first week so they can point you in the right direction.
5. Arrange Video Calls with Family and Friends
Seeing a familiar face may be all you need to pick yourself up and get over the nostalgic feeling, but don’t rely on video calls to be happy! You need to find a new lifestyle that doesn’t always involve your family and friends back home.
You should aim to catch up properly once or twice a week, without letting these calls interfere with any social events that you could be attending.
6. Don’t Beat Yourself Up about It
Dealing with the feeling of homesickness is bad enough as it is, without beating yourself up about feeling that way. It’s entirely normal to miss home when it’s your first time away and fending for yourself.
You’ll only make yourself feel worse if you’re constantly feeling guilty for not enjoying your first few weeks at college or university. Lots of people are in the same boat as you, so you should always remember that!
7. Don’t Seclude Yourself to the Four Walls of Your Room
That being said, it doesn’t mean that you need to sit in your room and drown your sorrows away with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream while binge-watching the entire box set of Game of Thrones. Spending too much time on your own will make you feel more secluded in the long run.
Instead, slap on a brave face and head down to the student union with your dorm mates. You never know who you might meet and what bonds you will make outside of your room!
8. Explore the City
One reason for feeling homesick is because you’re in unfamiliar surroundings. To combat those feelings, start exploring what the city or town has to offer. Pretend you’re a tourist and explore every walk path, historical attraction and food places until you find your favourite spots! Once you do, you’ll instantly feel more at home.
9. Stay Healthy
When you’re feeling sluggish, it can be tempting to binge on junk food and spend the evening watching your favourite rom-coms while crying into a pillow. But to get your mojo back, you need to make sure you’re living a healthy lifestyle.
This includes eating healthy and a balanced exercise regime. I’m not saying that you need to be a gym freak, but you should try to incorporate light exercise into your schedule at least three times a week. The plus side? You never know who you might meet at the gym!
10. Stay Positive
It can be a lot easier said than done to remain positive when you’re feeling down in the dumps, but it’s important to do things that make you feel good about yourself – whether it’s slapping on a face mask and running a hot bath or going to the local pub for a pint.
Positivity will help you overcome your homesickness, and it will help you attract new opportunities. If you’re upbeat, more people will want to spend time with you!
11. Seek Help
If you really can’t find ways to cope with feeling homesick and if the above methods haven’t helped, you should seek professional help. And, luckily, all universities have on-site guidance counsellors that talk you through your problems.
Don’t be shy to pay them a visit. They are professionals who are trained in solving mental health and personal issues for hundreds of students. In addition, you could also speak to those that you are closest to on campus – maybe they’re going through something similar or perhaps they have great advice that you can take on board!
12. Remind Yourself of Your Goals
A great way to handle being homesick is to remind yourself about why you’re at university. Maybe it’s because you want to study medicine and eventually become a doctor. Or perhaps you’re learning how to fine-tune your fashion design skills to become the next Donatella Versace.
Whatever it is, you should always keep your goal in the back of your mind to keep you in high spirits and to keep yourself going!
Feeling homesick is completely understandable when you go to university, but it doesn’t have to take over your life! By following these useful tips, you can overcome it and enjoy your student experience in next to no time.
How do you deal with homesickness at university? Join the conversation down below and let us know!